Reviewing Project Censored's Top 2009-10 Stories - by Stephen Lendman
Founded in 1976 by Carl Jensen, Mickey Huff now heads PC, working cooperatively with former director Peter Phillips' Media Freedom Foundation (MFF) and other investigative research and media related organizations. Together they counter major media real news and information censorship and suppression - what PC and MFF call "managed news" along with infotainment and miscellaneous "junk food news."
As a result, a "truth emergency" exists at a time, more than ever, real information is needed because media giants:
-- support privilege over populism;
-- endorse imperial wars and sham elections;
-- suppress corporate lawlessness;
-- ignore growing poverty, hunger, homelessness, despair, and
-- an unprecedented wealth gap;
-- 9/11 truth;
-- a private banking cartel controlling the nation's money and stealing it at public expense;
-- democracy for the select few alone; and
-- much more of what matters most to working Americans.
PC and MFF provide antidotes. Besides annual PC editions, both offer daily web site daily updates, accessed through the following links:
The latest Censored 2011 covers the top 2009-10 stories and more in PC's richest ever volume, a collector's item like previous ones. Besides the top 25, it includes Junk Food News and News Abuse, Signs of Health, and FAIR's 10th anniversary of Fear and Favor in the News Room.
In addition, a new Truth Emergency section addresses State Crimes Against Democracy plus analysis of corporate media misinformation - the kind promoting imperial wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, expanded to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Occupied Palestine, as well as covert actions in dozens of countries, and atrocities wherever America encroaches.
PC and MFF are there and expanding with over 30 college and university affiliates, because growing numbers of people everywhere know corporate and state-controlled news suppress what informed citizens need to know. Instead they're fed sanitized junk and treated like mushrooms - well-watered, in the dark, and distracted by "everything to sell and nothing to tell."
PC's Latest Top 25
(1) Global Plans to Replace the Dollar
In his book "Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of Imperial America," PC award-winner Michael Hudson explained the dollar's importance, and how a "dollar glut" finances:
-- US corporate takeovers;
-- speculative investments creating bubbles and economic crises;
-- America's reckless spending, foreign wars, and hundreds of global military bases;
-- its overall imperial agenda; and
-- culture of militarism and belligerence at the expense of democratic freedoms, beneficial social change, and human and civil rights.
It also keeps America economically dominant as long as other nations go along under a Washington controlled WTO/IMF/World Bank/Bank for International Settlements (the Central Bank of Central Banks in Basel) system, using the dollar as the world's reserve currency.
Other nations, however, are now balking, a June 2009 Yekaterinburg, Russia meeting with top officials of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization (led by China and Russia) took the first step to end dollar supremacy, perhaps replacing it eventually with a single global currency.
Today, America remains unchallenged militarily, its economic supremacy, however, weakening as it staggers under growing debt, while nations like China, Brazil, India, Russia and others are rising.
In July, 2009, Russian President Medvedev advocated a supranational currency. In September, the UN Conference on Trade and Development proposed an artificial one to replace the dollar. Other alliances, including nine Latin American countries, support a regional currency. China wants its yuan protected, and Russia plans to begin trading in the ruble and local currencies.
If these ideas take hold, America's permanent war agenda and overall hegemony will falter. Under the present system, what Hudson calls a "sinister dynamic:"
"the US payment deficit pumps dollars into foreign economies (that have) little option except to buy US (debt) which the Treasury spends on financing an enormous, hostile (global) military build-up," and its ready-to-unleash-anytime war machine. In other words, foreign US Treasury buyers may, in fact, be financing their own endangerment.
Many now weary want it stopped, Hudson saying:
Foreign countries seek "to create an international monetary system in which central bank savings do not fund the United States' military deficit....Russia, China, India and Brazil have taken the lead...." Look for others to follow.
The situation, however, remains fluid. The Fed keeps flooding markets with dollars. "Finance has become the new mode of warfare." Currency wars are in play for economic competitiveness, one nation jockeying against others during a transition period toward more stability and a fairer world economy. Because of today's global weakness, that condition may be years in the making with no assurance of winners or losers.
(2) US Department of Defense is the Worst Polluter on the Planet
Given America's imperial wars, global presence, heavy reliance on oil, and use of radioactive and other toxin emitting weapons, it's no surprise that the Pentagon "is responsible for the most egregious and widespread pollution of the planet." Yet virtually none of this gets reported, nor do environmental groups show concern. Worse still, "the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements," effectively giving it carte blanche to contaminate air, water and soil freely wherever it operates.
According to Barry Sanders, author of The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism, "the greatest single assault on the environment, on all of us around the globe, comes from" America's military, spreading death, destruction and contamination virtually everywhere. Expect no major media reports explaining it. Instead they hail America's armed forces as defenders of democracy, and governments under both major parties as servants of the people - omitting which ones, why global wars are waged, who pays for them, and who wins and loses.
(3) Internet Privacy and Personal Access at Risk
Post-9/11, both Bush and Obama administrations expanded intrusive government surveillance, including through Internet monitoring of personal communications. On April 1 last year, the Senate introduced two bills endangering a free and open Internet - S. 773: Cybersecurity Act of 2009 and S. 778 to establish a White House cybersecurity czar.
Both measures would give federal authorities unprecedented power over the Internet by:
-- federalizing critical infrastructure, shifting power away from providers and users to Washington; and
-- letting the president shut down Internet traffic for reasons of "national security" or during a claimed "emergency."
If passed, these measures will compromise personal privacy and security through one provision alone - by giving the Commerce Secretary access to all relevant data relating to critical infrastructure networks without restriction. In other words, privacy and judicial review protections guaranteed under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Privacy Protection Act, and financial privacy regulations no longer will apply.
Post-election, perhaps during the lame duck session, cybersecurity will again be addressed by combining S. 773 and 778. The new measure will let the executive shut down parts of the Internet, as well as businesses and organizations, not complying with national emergency declared orders.
In addition, on September 20, 2010, S. 3804: Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) was introduced. Its purpose - to literally break the Internet one domain at a time, by requiring domain registrars/registries, ISPs, DNS providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites. In other words, if passed, COICA will let Washington suppress free speech and block access to non-infringing material, inflicting enormous constitutional damage in the process.
Because of widespread criticism, the bill stalled. It may be softened, but in some final form will likely move ahead. Moreover, another post-election unnamed measure is planned - one that will end personal privacy by requiring all Internet communication providers (including ISPs, Facebook, Skype and others) to rebuild their systems to give Washington backdoor access to everyone's personal Internet communications.
In addition, Net Neutrality is seriously threatened. In fact, plans are to subvert it, according to a leaked September 2010 House Energy and Commerce Committee draft bill. If enacted, it will let cable and telecom giants establish, among other provisions, premium higher-priced lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, compromising the last free and open space.
An October 2007 global measure, overriding national sovereignty, also threatens Net Neutrality, consumer privacy, and civil liberties. Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), secret negotiations seek to subvert them, ostensibly to protect copyrighted intellectual property, including films, photos, and songs. ACTA remains a work in progress, but developments going forward bear watching, especially if a global agreement is reached.
These and perhaps other measures, including presidential Executive Orders, threaten America's First Amendments freedoms, without which all others are at risk.
(4) ICE Operates Secret Detention and Courts
On November 25, 2002, the Homeland Security Act (HSA) established the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Then in March 2003, its largest investigative and enforcement arm was created - the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE). Charged with protecting public safety by identifying and targeting "criminal" and "terrorist" threats, most often undocumented immigrants are victimized, most here because NAFTA globalized trade rules destroyed their livelihoods at home. As a result, they came out of need, not choice, and aren't terrorists.
Yet they're treated that way - sought, rounded up, and detained oppressively, thousands in unlisted, unmarked subfield offices before secret court hearings deport them.
"People are held in a vast network of more than three hundred detention facilities in nearly every state in the country," yet no major media reports explain it or how they're treated. Instead victims are racially profiled, vilified and terrorized as criminals, laws like Arizona's making all resident Latinos suspected intruders, authorities empowered to demand citizenship if asked or be detained and then deported.
In the past decade, constitutional protections have seriously eroded en route to eliminating them altogether, repressive agencies like ICE, the FBI, local goon squads, and others on the prowl against anyone for any reason, including peaceful demonstrators.
(5) Blackwater (Xe): The Secret US War in Pakistan
Operating covertly with CIA and Special Forces operatives, America wages war with Pakistan despite official Pentagon denials, saying "There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan." In fact, they've been ongoing for years on the ground and through predator drone attacks, mainly against North and South Waziristan provinces, targeting suspected militants and civilians alike, including by assassination squads.
America's imperial strategy flouts US and international laws, including letting trained killers operate extralegally throughout the world. Obama, in fact, acts more aggressively than Bush while claiming he's working for peace.
(6) Health Care Restrictions Cost Thousands of Lives in US
America's new healthcare legislation enriches providers at the expense of consumers by making a dysfunctional system worse. As a result, available care "remain(s) dismal for many Americans, resulting in continuing deaths and personal tragedies."
Besides exponentially rising costs, the uninsured will get no help until 2013, and when all provisions take effect, millions will remain uninsured. No wonder Ralph Nader calls Obamacare a "pay-or-die system that is the disgrace of the Western world." Even worse, for some who can pay, it's a death sentence for anyone gravely sick whose plans don't cover expensive treatments, only cheaper ineffective ones with big deductables.
(7) External Capitalist Forces Wreak Havoc in Africa
US major media almost never report on Africa, a continent plagued by conflicts, repression, land grabs, resource exploitation, extreme poverty, and in places starvation, disease and early deaths. As a result, press silence helps Western profiteers plunder hugely, and when not enough, America's long imperial arm helps more.
(8) Massacre in Peruvian Amazon over US Free Trade Agreement
Under US/Western free trade, provisions exclude fairness, the US/Peru deal one of many examples, its one-sided rules harming indigenous people gravely. By opening their land to extractive mining, oil exploration and logging, besides agribusiness biofuel plantations, poor Peruvians are entirely left out.
As a result, they reacted by protesting against "a conspiracy afoot to (exploit their land and keep them) from making use of (their) natural wealth." In response, government forces responded, killing around two dozen and wounding 100 more. As public opposition continues, state-sponsored terrorism confronts it, the way repressive states always operate, regional militaries taught at the School of the Americas (SOA), now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), the new name leaving SOA's school of assassins mission unchanged.
(9) Human Rights Abuses Continue in Palestine
For decades they've included:
-- regular incursions;
-- home invasions and demolitions;
-- land and resource theft;
-- targeted assassinations;
-- mass imprisonment;
-- free movement, assembly and expression restrictions; and
-- overall denial of virtually all freedoms under military occupation, ongoing for over 43 years.
Palestine is occupied and oppressed. Israeli Arabs are also denied rights afforded solely to Jews, but not without growing outraged millions. Unsupported by Western and most other nations, human rights groups, ordinary people of all religions, and initiatives like the Global BDS campaign have effectively raised public awareness. It's not enough, yet combined, it's an important step toward Palestinian liberation on their own land in their own country, what surely one day will come.
(10) US Funds and Supports the Taliban
If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em off, or at least try. As a result, "American tax dollars end up paying members of the Taliban and funding a volatile environment in Afghanistan." Part of it is a protection racket, America and private contractors paying resistance fighters to grant supply convoys free passage. More funds them not to fight coalition forces. Yet no strategies helped end America's nine year war, being lost, not won.
(11) The H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: Manipulating Data to Enrich Drug Companies
The WTO-declared "pandemic" was, in fact, a mouse that didn't roar, a hoax to enrich drug giants and expose billions globally to toxic vaccines crucial to avoid. Word spread, millions reacted, avoiding potentially grave illnesses later on, but likely new campaigns lie ahead, as deceptive and dangerous as the 2009 H1N1 one. Forewarned is forearmed. According to Viera Scheiber, the world's foremost vaccine expert, all vaccines are dangerous and should be avoided, especially experimental, untested, toxic ones like for H1N1.
(12) Cuba Provided the Greatest Medical Aid to Haiti after the Earthquake
After the January 12, 2010 quake, America militarized Haiti, opened it for business, protected well off areas, ignored Haitian needs, and obstructed aid deliveries. In contrast, Cuba was first there with medical aid, providing hundreds of doctors and supplies, setting up facilities, and delivering heroic services under the most adverse conditions.
Yet virtually no major media accounts reported it, or that America came to exploit like it always does, not help. As a result, nearly 11 months post-quake, 1.5 million or more Haitians remain homeless, lacking basic essentials, including sanitation, enough food, and adequate healthcare for the sick because Cuban and other volunteer doctors can't do it all when donated funds aren't coming. Instead, they're earmarked for development and predatory NGOs. Affected Haitians thus struggle on their own, unwanted and abandoned, despite a potential disastrous cholera outbreak.
(13) Obama Cuts Domestic Spending and Increases Military Corporate Welfare
Especially since the 1980s, it's been America's way - handouts to rich, austerity for the poor, and open-checkbook spending for the nation's war machine, fueling its permanent imperial agenda.
It gets worse with deeper austerity planned by more social program cuts. Moreover, on the pretext of reform, destroying Medicare and Social Security are also planned by privatizing them, earmarking them for Wall Street, the same way 401ks killed corporate pensions.
Moreover, Washington plans to control the remaining private pension plan trillions. The scheme involves exchanging them for a guaranteed government annuity, but watch out. In the words of one independent expert, it won't be worth "the paper it is written on," and the real idea is to expropriate the funds covertly, giving government more resources for militarism and corporate welfare.
(14) Increased Tensions with Unresolved 9/11 Issues
Growing millions know the official 9/11 story is bogus, a bald faced lie. Clear evidence proves it, but coverup and media suppression continue relentlessly. Nonetheless, over 1,200 Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (http://www.ae911truth.org/) demand "a truly independent investigation with subpoena power in order to uncover the full truth surrounding the events of 9/11-01 - specifically the collapse of the World Trade Center Towers and Building 7."
Clearly the official story was falsified to protect culpable top officials. It also created a climate of fear to enact repressive homeland laws, and enlist public support for imperial wars, ongoing in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Occupied Palestine, and elsewhere covertly. Given how roguish America has become, revealing the true 9/11 story is more crucial than ever.
(15) Bhopal Water Still Toxic Twenty-Five Years After Deadly Gas Leak
On December 2, 1984, 40 tons of toxic gas poisoned Bhopal's air. To this day, it's the worst ever industrial disaster, killing 8,000 immediately, later on up to 20,000 or more. In addition, "Hundreds of thousands of others were harmed, in many cases permanently, with lung, liver, kidney, and immune system damages, and blindness."
It was later determined that over 520,000 people, to one degree or other, were affected, "poisons circulating through their bloodstream(s) causing different degrees of damage to almost all systems in their bod(ies)." Twenty-five years later, Bhopal's water is still toxic, disaster survivors getting little more than $500 "for a lifetime of suffering...."
(16) US Presidents Charged with Crimes Against Humanity as Universal Jurisdiction Dies in Spain
The well-established UJ principle holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity. Thus, under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won't, can't, or hasn't for any reason.
Previously, Spain had been a venue against human rights violators in Guatemala, Argentina, China, Israel, and elsewhere. However, in October 2009, "under great pressure from the United States, (its) government.... decided to limit its own jurisdiction in cases of genocide and crimes against humanity, thus closing one of the last windows of opportunity" to prosecute culpable US officials, guilty of these heinous crimes. As a result, they're free to commit them with impunity unless another nation dares offer a venue, what most or likely all fear doing.
(17) Nanotech Particles Pose Serious DNA Risks to Humans and the Environment
Atom-sized nanotech particles are everywhere in products few suspect and think are harmless, including cosmetics, articles of clothing, personal hygiene items, drugs, paints and others. Yet in some cases, they "sicken and kill workers in plants using nanotechnology," because of permanent lung damage. Moreover, many species of aquatic wildlife are also affected that, in turn, "threaten the global food chain."
(18) The True Cost of Chevron
The world's second most profitable US company in 2008 is also one of the most dangerous because its handsome returns depend on imperial wars, lost lives, harmed health, "communities destroyed, environments decimated, livelihoods ruined, and political voices silenced."
Chevron is a global predator. In America alone, it "buys political influence" locally and nationally "to circumvent or (disregard) laws that would (otherwise) protect people and environments from (its) destructive practices." Of course, practically all other large and many smaller companies also do it, bottom line interests trumping public welfare, the way America protects the powerful, not the people.
(19) Obama Administration Assures World Bank and International Monetary Fund a Free Reign of Abuse
Under the WTO's Financial Services Agreement, over 100 nations must implement "major deregulation, or in effect, mandate policies that caused today's financial crisis harming them most. Yet none of these countries voted for it in their parliaments," and were instead so ordered under WTO rules. Moreover, according to Jesse Griffiths of the London-based Bretton Woods Project:
Throughout their existence, IMF, World Bank, and WTO policies have been destructive. Besides the current economic crisis, their "system has failed to create equity and eradicate poverty. (They) failed to ensure that human rights are protected, and (they) failed to address environmental issues." Instead they ran roughshod over popular interests, serving powerful ones alone.
(20) Obama's Charter School Policies Spread Segregation and Undermine Unions
Like Bush, Obama embraces destructive public education privatizations, his Race to the Top continuing No Child Left Behind policies and more. As a result, quasi-public/private "Charter schools continue to stratify students by race, class, and sometimes language, and (more) racially (isolate students) than traditional public schools" in virtually all large metropolitan areas nationally.
Ultimately, non-union privatized public education is planned, charter schools an interim step to get there by destroying a 375 year tradition, one getting inner city kids like this writer into two top schools, followed by a successful career for four decades.
Bush and ObamaEd want millions of others denied that chance, under marketplace rules, commodifying education, ending government responsibility for it, and making it another business profit center.
(21) Western Lifestyle Continues Environmental Footprint
Evidence shows Western consumption levels are unsustainable, their environmental effects alone proving hugely destructive. Radical lifestyle changes are thus essential to avoid serious, likely irreversible consequences.
(22) 1.2 Billion People in India to be Given Biometric ID Cards
They'll contain a person's name, age, birth date, fingerprints or iris scans, "though no caste or religious identification." Then in five years, a giant computer will hold data for half of them, receiving a 16-digit ID number by 2014 during the project's first phase.
Thereafter, its use will be required for all government and private services from drivers' licenses to hospitals to banking. Critics, however, balk, saying "the project will turn India into an Orwellian police state (able to) spy on citizens' private lives." Despite government denials, it may be precisely for that purpose.
Thus far not enacted, America's Real ID Act plans the same thing, widespread state opposition over the cost having stopped it up to now.
(23) Afghan War: Largest Military Coalition in History
Under NATO and other coalition contributors, the Afghan war is being waged by "the largest military coalition in history," overall including contingents from up to 50 nations as part of the US-led NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The war's only beneficiary is America and "a rapidly emerging global NATO" as its imperial strike arm.
(24) War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal
A man James Petras called a "notorious psychopath," McChrystal served as a hired gun, an assassin, a man known for committing war crime atrocities as head of the Pentagon's infamous Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Established in 1980, it used special ops teams as a virtual executive office assassination wing engaged in extrajudicial killings, systemic torture, bombing of civilian communities, and various search and destroy missions.
Its war crimes are legendary, McChrytal a known expert at committing them. It's why he got command authority in Iraq and Afghanistan. His mission wasn't to win hearts and minds. It was to bludgeon both countries into submission, objectives thus far not achieved nor will they under Petraeus, his successor in Afghanistan, a man with more than Generalissimo aims, hoping to parlay his position to high political office, the nation's highest if he succeeds and our loss.
(25) Prisoners Still Brutalized at Gitmo
Though promising to close Guantanamo and end torture, Obama continued it more aggressively though media accounts suppress it, and the fact that victims are entirely innocent, not dangerous terrorists as claimed.
Challenged in late October on the Daily Show about delivering business as usual not change, Obama disingenuously responded:
"When we promised during the campaign 'change you can believe in,' it wasn't change you can believe in 18 months. It was change you can believe in but, you know what, we're going to have to work for it."
Rubbish! Committing high crimes at home and abroad, Obama so far delivered global wars, failure, betrayal, economic ruin for millions, a climate of instability and insecurity, and a burgeoning police state threatening everyone. Whatever lies ahead, his legacy is indelibly written.
A Final Comment
Like all previous editions, especially more recent ones, PC's latest volume is a triumph of democracy in action, offering the best of what corporate media reports censor or suppress. With its great team and Media Freedom Foundation alliance, credit goes to Mickey Huff, working cooperatively with former director Peter Phillips.
His first effort as director is solid, impressive, powerful must reading, promising more of the same ahead as an antidote to major media's "managed news." Avoid its harmful worthless kind to be spurned and challenged by vital truths, the kinds PC and MFF deliver daily on their web sites, as well as PC in annual editions.
The new volume is highly recommended as an essential addition to everyone's library, its reference value alone worth the price.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.